I just wanted to say thanks to Cindy Dixon and crew for hosting Ed Camp Savannah. I am so excited for Ed Camp Roswell in March. It’s refreshing to hang out with great educators who are doing great things in their classrooms.
Here are a few topics we covered:
Gamification: Marvin Fuller a technology teacher in Savannah shared a great session on gamifying the classroom and the reasons kids respond so well. Even if you don’t want to go full throttle on a gamified classroom, there are some good take-aways that are worth considering.
- Badges: In English class, I’m going to introduce a badge board for accomplishments.
- Long Jumper – Someone who’s essay score improves significantly.
- Researcher – Someone who consistently uses data to support their claims.
- Editor – Someone who’s essays improve dramatically between rough and final drafts.
- Explorer – Someone who reads associated sources for a novel or text we are studying.
- Points instead of grades – For some assignments, assign points rather than grades. I can see doing this in novel studies. Think of the old games with hidden things. Get points for “uncovering” textual evidence from texts.
Gamification is much more robust than these things, but interspersing even these small changes can capture the interest of your students. In my AP Computer Science class, I am considering restructuring the whole course next year to focus on gamification. It allows a lot of opportunities for true differentiation that is necessary in AP CS.
Adobe Voice – It was presented as focusing on teachers using it in the classroom, but I can see using it as a great resource for quick student visual presentations. (iPad only right now.)
Improving online discussions: This was a round table focusing on improving online engagement. Some of the take-aways:
- Offer enough options for students to be legitimately interested. Don’t just post one article. Post several and let them respond in one forum. This also reduces the amount of people participating in any given discussion which keeps some participants from “hiding.”
- Consider micro-conversations, e.g. Twitter.
- If you use rubrics, make sure they are meaningful and specific.
- A lot of options for technology were shared.
- Google Groups – Seemed most common, but pretty simple options. You can use this with Google Apps for Education.
- Babblizer – I think this is iPad only.
- TodaysMeet – Free to use. No sign in for students – Just give them a room code.
- VoiceThread – Expensive. Prohibitively for me, but if you have a school that will get it, go for it. It has a lot of cool features.
Creating a Growth Mindset in the Classroom: This presentation was great. It’s something I’ve heard a lot about from administrators, but Kelley Waldron did a great job focusing on the science and talking about simple ways, like changing your language, can help your students have a less fixed perception of their intelligence.
She focused on Carol Dweck’s research.
All in all, the ed camp was awesome. No administrators with an agenda or checklist. No one was there that didn’t want to be. People came from all over and shared their passions with each other.
This is the way professional development should be. We’ll take a lot of what they did and incorporate it in our upcoming Ed Camp in Roswell.